The brand founded by journalist-turned-entrepreneur J.J. Martin took over the bar and pool area of Passalacqua, a historic estate recently turned into a luxe 24-suite retreat, which quietly opened its doors last month.
Conversely to similar, buzzy operations by other luxury players taking over hospitality facilities in strategic locations for the summer season — such as Dior’s customization of the Bagni Fiore beach club near Portofino — La Double J’s project is permanent.
A private villa since 1787 nestled in centuries-old cypress trees and olive groves, the Passalacqua property has been restored and transformed into a five-star hotel by Valentina De Santis, whose family has experience in luxury hospitality since purchasing the Grand Hotel Tremezzo — one of the lake’s most famed hotels, back to the ‘70s.
As part of their tie-up, Martin and De Santis reimagined the poolside solarium and lounge area overlooking Lake Como with a joyful touch, as they jazzed up the space with La Double J’s colorful patterns, ranging from florals to a Passalacqua Fish motif.
Originally sourced from the archives of silk specialist Mantero, these prints were splashed on bamboo and rattan furniture, cushions, aprons and tabletop items. In addition, La Double J porcelain pieces and Murano glassware have been paired with new custom linen designs, while the retro, Dolce Vita-evoking umbrellas and sun beds were enhanced by the juxtaposition of solid hues and the Bright Blooms print.
Many of the items developed for the hotel — including cushions, placemats and napkins — will be available for purchase exclusively at the La Double J website beginning mid-summer 2022.
As part of its outdoor area, Passalacqua also features rose and vegetable gardens, an antique orchard, a lakeside tennis court and a private dock with the hotel’s vintage boats offered to cross the lake in style. Other services include an open-air gym in the olive grove, spa treatments in the fruit garden, yoga classes available every morning at sunrise as well as movie nights under the stars.
Standing above the village of Moltrasio, the neoclassical mansion over the years hosted prominent personalities from the music, literature, art and political worlds, ranging from Napoleon Bonaparte to Winston Churchill. The villa was built by Count Andrea Lucini Passalacqua, who worked with architect Felice Soave and designer Giocondo Albertolli to establish one of the largest estates on Lake Como.
If she opted for an eccentric touch outdoors, inside De Santis enhanced the original charm of the villa, restoring frescos and keeping every room different from the others. Suites have been set within the main historic villa, the Palazz ancient stables and Casa al Lago, which is located right on the lake. The main villa includes what is billed as the largest suite on Lake Como, a 2,700-square-foot room with lavishly decorated halls, double-height vaulted ceilings and a sweeping view of the lake.